The SIG Sauer P220, more commonly known simply as the SIG P220, is a semi-automatic pistol produced by SIG Sauer. The P220 formed the basis of the P225, P226 , P228 and P229 pistols, all of which are in service with police and armed forces around the world.
The SIG P220 uses the Browning developed breech locking short-recoil action. However unlike other Browning based firearms, such as the Colt M1911 or Browning Hi Power , the P220's barrel and slide lock using an enlarged breech section locking into the ejection port, making production much easier and with no effect on the weapon's function.
The slide is manufactured from a single piece of sheet metal with the frame being made from a forged alloy, reducing the weight of the pistol. The choice of these two methods and materials reduces the cost and time to manufacture the P220.
The P220's hammer is cocked when a shot is chambered, meaning the hammer must be manually dropped to be put into the safety position. No other safety features are included as such, except that the trigger pull is long. This is due to the fact that the first shot of the P220 is taken in double action, preventing anything other than a delibrate pull on the trigger to fire the P220. All other shots are fired in single action mode.
The P220 was developed in several ways, the first being the relocation of the magazine release from the underside of the grip to the left side of the frame. Other developments were released as different models.
The P220 Rail (P220R) featured a picatinny rail (a tactical rail for other equipment). There are no other developments from the standard P220, which the P220 Rail would replace.
Using a shortened slide and a more compact frame than both the Standard and Carry versions of the P220. Sold with a six shot magazine, but also allows an eight shot magazine to be fitted with one shot in the chamber .
P220 CombatEditThe Combat exists in two models: The P220 Combat and P220 Combat TB (Threaded Barrel). The barrel is 0.6in longer on the Combat TB than the standard Combat model, and both feature the picatinny rail, Nitron finished slide, night sights and phosphated internals. The extra 0.6in on the barrel of the Combat TB allows for a suppressor to be fitted. Both models are only chambered in .45 ACP.
An entirely stainless steel version of the standard P220, finished in stainless steel or Nitron (police forces). The stainless steel, although heavier than the alloy used in the standard P220 frame, reduces the recoil produced. It also features a reversible magazine release.
P220 Classic 22Edit
A full sized P220 chambered in .22LR for the purpose of target and practice shooting. It features a lighter aluminium slide and is avaliable as either a stand-alone gun or in a conversion kit for the standard P220. The P220 Classic 22 has a ten round magazine, the largest of any of the P220 versions, and is an alternative to SIG Sauer's other target pistols, in particular the SIG Sauer Mosquito (a 90% size version of the SIG Sauer P226).
Another compact version of the P220, the P225 and the P6 are the military versions of the P220, concieved with the intention to replace the SIG P210 as the standard sidearm of the Swiss Army. The demands of the Swiss Army were thus, a cheap, semi-automatic, double action trigger pistol. The P225 and P6 achieved these aims, released chambered for 9mm parabellum rounds, in a eight shot magazine. Major differences between the P225 and P6 are that the P6 has a lighter trigger pull and fixed sights only, the P225 using tritum fixed sights.
P6s from West Germany were stamped P6 and featured a "deformation spur" (designed to deform when the pistol was dropped on the hammer). Many examples, following the P6s removal from police forces in Germany, were imported into the US.
A no longer produced version of the P220, chambered only in .45 ACP. It featured a reversible magazine release, designed to use either a six or eight round magazine. The P245, unlike the P220 and its other varients, was made from stamped steel, making it heavier and more expensive to produce. It was replaced by the P220 Compact and the P220 Carry.
The Standard P220 was originally chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum , intended to replace the SIG Sauer P210 as the Swiss Army standard. Other calibers to be used in P220s are the .22 LR (P220 Classic 22 only), 7.65x21mm parabellum, .38 Super (now discontinued) and .45 ACP .
The P220, and particularly the P225, was designed to replace the Swiss Army standard, the SIG P210 which it would in 1975, named the 'Pistole 75' . Other forces to adopt the P220 are:
- Canada - Canadian Forces Military Police (using the P225)
- Denmark - Special Forces
- Japan - Produced by Minebea under license as the 'Minebea P9' for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces
- Switzerland - Named the 'Pistole 75'. P225 used by police forces
- USA - Police forces (P225) / Standard P220 by National Park Service's Park Rangers
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
- West Germany - Used, primarliy, the P6
SIG Sauer on their website claim that the P220, in any of its various versions, can fire "10,000 rounds a day without a single failure."
The P220 is said to be a reliable hand gun, popular in the conceal/carry market in the US. As a target pistol the P220 Classic 22 is outclassed by the SIG Sauer Mosquito based on the newer P226, a developed version of the P225.